Monday, October 30, 2006

So what's new?

Since I wrote last week about my panic attacks, I have not given an update so I'm due. Last week, I visited my doctor twice in one week, having even lost 4lbs in 4 days because of the stress and inability to eat. I told him I needed to have something to settle my stomach so I could at least eat because that was just one more added 'vicious cycle' that I did not need. I told him I responded well with phenergan since I had been given it twice for two different reasons. My doctor, knowing how much I do not like medicine, wrote me the prescription knowing that I knew what I was doing. (now there's a good doctor, but then, he knows me) He also encouraged me to keep taking the xanax as needed until the Lexapro medicine would kick in and I have taken it a few times since. It is very unnerving to feel 'over taken' as it were and it is very unsettling to feel as if you're body freezes with fear that seems totally irrational. One of the moms' at my kids' school is a psychiatrist (don't know if I mentioned it before) and she told me that panic attacks are biological. You're either predisposed to experience them or not. So, I am (whoopee). Still, unlike 20 some years ago, I do not have to suffer through them curled up in the fetal position unable to cope but I can take something for it and that has been a life saver. When I realized that it's not just 'in my head' but some misfiring thingy in my brain (ok, very layman of me but I can't think of how to explain it properly right now) that needed adjusting/fine tuning, I felt relieved. And not guilty about taking something for it either.
Funny thing is, when I told one of my neighbours of the situation she said, oh if you ever need anything I have a whole stash of xanax! Her situation is that she's afflicted with chronic pain in her head, she has a pinched nerve that 'they' (the doctors) cannot address other than suggesting breaking her neck (yeah right) so she's been very depressed over that. The strenght of her xanax is 1mg though, mine is a fourth!! I only take 0.25mg .. holy cow. I imagine that if I had 1mg, I'd be zonked! No thanks!
So this is the update, I've been taking lexapro for about 5 days (1mg) and from time to time my 'happy pill' as I like to call it.
Good thing too because I was involved with the Halloween festival fundraiser at my kids' school in charge of the food section so, happy pill makes for happy selling! ha! Just kidding. Both meds, but especially the xanax for now is a life saver.
This thursday morning, I will go to my first session with a psychologist because the panic attacks are just the result of something having been suppressed for too long. I think anyway.
So..that's what's new. What's new with you guys?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Suspending disbelief

Suspension of disbelief refers primarily to the willingness of a reader or viewer to accept the premises of a work of fiction, even if they are fantastic or impossible. It also refers to the willingness of the audience to overlook the limitations of a medium, so that these do not interfere with the illusion. However, suspension of disbelief is a do ut des: the audience agrees to provisionally suspend their judgment in exchange for the promise of entertainment.

As most of my blogger friends are either left, or left leaning, we all share similar outlooks politically and socially. We also have formed common goals by way of the Bloggers against torture, posting against the excess force and reaction from Israel during the summer, in short, coming up for the underdog. Speaking for myself, I have always felt the need to understand what was behind a supposed obvious situation. In the Netherlands, there is an expression: to look past the end of your nose. (rough translation). In other words, don't take everything at face value, examine a bit further. As we were all appalled this summer at the Israeli attacks in Lebanon and Gaza, we also found out that someone at Reuters 'spruced' up a picture to make it look worse than it was. Remember the famous black cloud over Beirut? I would like you to consider and investigate the following, the death of Mohamed al Durah in 2000. Before you do, also consider people's own experiences and read Rogel's:
My story involve no violence or shooting. At a quiet day, we stop during a patrol to rest along side the road. Near us was a group of Palestinians working in an orchard, cutting trees – a job that the orchard owner paid them to do. It was quiet enough that we were able to drink coffee and rest from the patrol. It was that quiet that we didn't pay to much attention to TV crew that stopped near us, interviewed the workers and took some pictures.

The day after I got 48 hours vacation so I was able to watch on that news channel how my patrol forced the poor Palestinians to cut the trees. It was my first lesson about the way news are being reported, or rather being made.

Back to Mohamed al Durah:
On September 30, 2000, images of 12-year-old Mohammed Al Durah and his father--cowering behind a barrel at Netzarim Junction, in the Gaza Strip--circulated globally, along with a claim that they had been the targeted victims of Israeli fire. If Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount two days earlier had sparked riots, these images triggered all-out war. The ensuing horror and outrage swept away any questions about its reliability. Indignant observers dismissed any Israeli attempt to deny responsibility as "blaming the victim."

This is not about whether we believe the Israeli occupation is wrong, or if we believe that, because of the situations of the Palestinians that it is ok for facts/images to be changed so that they get the appropriate attention and sympathy from the world. This is about something that we, mostly left leaning bloggers pride ourselves about; to be truthful and expose falsehoods and to be honest in self examination.
I personally believe that in conflicts such as the Israeli-Palestinian one, that there are many parties who have their own agenda, their own scruples or lack thereof. It is not all one-sided in that case. Our sympathy with which ever side should not cloud our judgement as to what we can can call out to be wrong or right.

For further investigation: the second draft.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Mohammed from Gaza

Well, there is always someone worse off than you when you think of it, and even though that doesn't mean that you can flagellate yourself for being weak, or deny yourself to feel sad or bad or what have you, it is still good to remember that there are many many people who do not have a 'way out' like you do. I have access to doctors, counselors, can roam free if I wanted to, can speak my mind if I want to.
This morning, I received this email from my Gaza blogger friend Mohammed;

Dear Ingrid,
I hope you are fine? Things are of course quite awful here in Gaza. I'm having lots and lots of troubles. I'm also feeling very sad and quite stressed and angry. The US Consulate in Jerusalem have got a letter from the Israeli Occupation Forces saying that they will not give me permit to go for visa interview appointment at the US Consulate. I have got security clearance from USA, which means they are waiting for my finger prints and they will give me the visa in 30 minutes. But Israel denied my entry to go and get the visa and finger prints in Jerusalem and they said that "I'm a security risk". I was quite shocked and sad to know about it!
Thank you and best wishes!

Mohammed has been the main photographer of the website Rafah's website where he has documented accounts and photos of his town Rafah, Gaza. Their home demolitions, their lives, the attacks, the wounded and the dead, in short, all the tragedies that the people there are dealing with on a daily bases. So tell me, why do you think he's considered a 'threat'? Probably in the same way as Robert Fisk was considered a 'threat' when his visa was denied when he was invited to speak here in the US recently. Mohammed must be 20 right now. I remember being 20 and that was the year I emigrated to Canada, hopeful for a 'new' life, an exciting life of possibilities. Instead of asking 'why' the Israelis (the gov't that is) is denying him travel permission, perhaps I can ask my Israeli blogger friends; who can we email/write to in order to try to change their position?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Panic attack

My first thought is to apologize as part of me feels embarrassed. I do not normally write personal posts, and keep my personal feelings to myself. But, it is a blog and writing is my way of coping with 'things' so pls, skip if you want to read about politics and the like and step right this way (scroll down!) and browse away.

Right now, I am struggling with panic attacks. I have been experiencing them the last couple of days and it's been freaking me out. Not only the feeling of the panic attacks themselves, which you cannot rationalize away and is very disconcerting how it makes you feel out of your control, but it reminds me of when I had a nervous breakdown as a teenager (long enough ago but still, I remember!). This happened during a time of no Oprah (and thank you Oprah for all the work you're doing helping people), no computer (cannot do research to find out how to deal with 'things) and no hotlines. Well, I looked, even online but cannot find any hotline for panic attacks, but on a happy note everything else seems to be covered.

So I figured I should write. I tried calling my mom twice, but she has a great social life and is not at home, of course! I woke up a little before 5 and all of the sudden, started to feel a panic attack coming up. The weird thing is, it started a few days ago when I felt as if I hadn't eaten enough and all of the sudden it spiraled. I felt unsettled and when I am nervous, I cannot eat. Hence the 'spiral'. So then anything I try to eat makes me feel nausious and my stomach feels unsettled even more. Funny thing about nerves. When I went to university, I found that quite a few of the students that I knew would eat when being nervous, unlike me, who cannot put anything away when under stress and that's when you actually need it!

At the moment, I am stressing over my husband being out of town (just for the weekend) which is silly, because I've lived a whole year with him having been away on a one yr contract working out of state. He did visit of course but somehow, I managed. The big picture which has been getting to me is this. I have made some great online friends who share common goals and values. I have had a great outlet 'talking politics', exchanging ideas. But (there's always a 'but'), it cannot substitute for real live conversations with friends which I feel I do not have. I am not exaggerating because I am in a state of anxiety right now and too focussed inward, I really don't have them. I have complained to my husband for years that it's so difficult making friends in this country. That, plus he's not social with other people at all, although when you meet him, you'd never know. He's jovial, jokes around, seems at ease with visitors. Yet, he has only casual friends (if I can even use the plural) and we do not have social gatherings other than the ones I have initiated with other people. Tried doing potlucks a couple of times with the permie people here, but nothing else came out of that. We do have a friendly street where we live but everyone has their own life and the one neighbour who I do get along with is kinda fickle and self protective. She comes from a big, dysfunctional family and can share information and the like, but is emotionally closed.

At times like this I miss where I grew up. Not that everyone is much nicer or approachable in Holland (good grief no), but as a culture, friendships are not only highly valued, people are much more open to not only making friends, but maintaining friendships. Here in the US, people easily fall into the 'sorry, don't have time' trap even though it's not that they don't have time, they cannot muster up the energy or the interest somehow. So one of my big issues is isolation (she says writing on the blog). Even at my son's school where I exchange niceties with other parents (it's not a school in our neighbourhood and most people don't live close to the school), I feel , as I like to call it, 'click-less'. When I was distraught two days ago and I actually cried to my husband (I am not the crying type), I told him that it would be nice for a change for someone to try to make friends with me instead of me always trying to make friends or connect with others.

So at times when I feel alone I feel very anxious and I have even told my husband a few weeks ago, I feel as if I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Of course, he doesn't know what to say or do. I feel embarrassed. It's affecting how I feel physically and I feel I need to talk to someone. How can I be a mom if I cannot even function properly? Who can I talk to?
I just want to feel better and in control.
Could I talk to anyone?

thanks Betmo for your kind comments. Your suggestions are very good but trust me, as a social person, I've tried all of them! I did finally get a hold of my mother and decided to call the doctor's office. Even though they're closed for the weekends, they do have this thing called 'medical exchange' which means that someone takes a message and calls the doctor on call for you. I bit the bullet and did so and the doctor who called me back prescribed me a few pills of Xanax (sp?) only to get me through the weekend. He knew I was going to try to get an appointment for my own doctor on monday because this panic attack is caused by something else. As the doc mentioned this morning, something triggered it. After he said that, and I hung up, I actually realized what did trigger it. So I just started to write long hand in order to get it out of my system, part of it anyway. I do need counseling. Then, I called the People's Pharmacy here where they are very knowledgable about alternative medicine so this afternoon, I will check out with them what I could take instead of Xanax. I am really bad taking pills, (I always need a liquid version of things) and I figured that something homeopathic which could temporarily address my panic feelings would be just as good.
I am dreading the night time, but hopefully I will have something to keep me chilled. One more night of this and I'll just pass out and fall asleep during the day, phooy!
I still feel kinda silly having shared this because I am used to keeping things to myself, (ahaa..therein lies the problem you say..yes, you're probably right)

Friday, October 20, 2006

The difference between philosophy and ideology

If I could link to Mash's site I would so I have to do it the 'old-fashioned' way and cut and paste and then link. Excerpt:
Former President Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker on Wednesday at the "Securing the Common Good" event at Georgetown University. It is my opinion that his keynote address was one of the more remarkable and significant political speeches of recent times. In his speech, President Clinton laid out the difference between political philosophy and political ideology:

There is a big difference between a philosophy and an ideology, on the right or the left. If you have a philosophy, it generally pushes you in a certain direction or another, but like all philosophers, you want to engage in discussion and argument. You are open to evidence, to new learning, and you are certainly open to debate the practical applications of your philosophy. Therefore, you might wind up making a principled agreement with someone with a different philosophy.

The problem with ideology is, if you’ve got an ideology, you’ve already got your mind made up. You know all the answers, and that makes evidence irrelevant and argument a waste of time, so you tend to govern by assertion and attack. The problem with that is: that discourages thinking and gives you bad results.

Clinton goes on to discuss Ron Suskind's book, the one percent doctrine, and Bob Woodward's book state of denial. Excellent post, go visit and READ!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

And now for something completely different...Project Runway

I have a secret addiction (well, no longer so) and it is Project Runway. I started watching it during season 2 as I ignored it the first season thinking, phaa, Heidi Klum and 'winning a contest for designing'? Then, I watched one episode and got hooked big time. I don't care for the drama that presents itself (it's reality tv people), but I love seeing the designs coming about from conception to execution. I am even signed up for a sewing class (gettouttahere) that will address the sewing machine, how to use it. Hey! You gotta start somewhere right?
Anyhow, last night was the finale and of the four designers, I loved Laura's and Ulli's runway show the best. They did not win (congratulations Jeffrey) but.. no matter. These ladies will be sought after regardless.
Check it out:

Auf Wiedersehen Laura and Ulli!

War and Peace Conference Amsterdam

Stop the War Coalition logo

October 29th, the War and Peace Conference in Amsterdam will discuss the 'Liberation-Occupation-Civil War' in Iraq with several speakers from the various political parties. An international discussion forum will include:
Geoffrey Millard (Iraq Veterans Against the War )
Rose Gentle (Military Families Against the War UK)Their blog
Salam Ismael (docter from Fallujah, Iraq)
Abdel Bari Atwan (lead editor of the Arabic newspaper Al-Quds)
Dyab Abou Jahjah
Kamil Mahdi (Iraqi Democrats Against the War) AND
George Galloway (Stop the War Coalition UK) video live from Londen.

To buy tickets: Check HERE.Tickets are pretty cheap actually, 5 euro when you buy them ahead of time and 7.50 at the door.
Also, check out the links of the participants and their organizations, there is some interesting info out there.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Iran needs another revolution

Ever since the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh in the 1950s (28 Mordad), Iran has never known democracy, let alone freedom of any kind. During the Shah's reign, his SAVAK accounted for
>"the torture and execution of thousands of political prisoners, suppression of dissent, and alienation of the religious masses. The United States reinforced its position as the Shah's protector and supporter, sowing the seeds of the anti-Americanism that later manifested itself in the revolution against the monarchy"

After the 1979 revolution, life didn't fare well still for many Iranians. (Read about the class analysis of the Iranian Revolution in 1979 HERE) Continued oppression and jailing of political opponents/critics; the closing down of publications and now the blocking of high speed internet in Iran will provide a greater noose for those Iranians, who want to have freedom of speech and freedom of organizing dissent.
Parastoo Dokoohaki:"If you want to announce a gathering in advance, you won't see it mentioned on official websites and newspapers would announce it too late. Therefore, you upload it anonymously and put the information out. Banning high-speed links would limit that facility. Despite having the telecoms facilities, fibre-optic technology and internet infrastructure, the authorities want us to be undeveloped."

As much as Bush and company would like to control Iran for their many reasons, the real interest and hope lies with the Iranians themselves. Not to have a regime change that enables US puppeteers, but an independent and viable democracy that can accommodate the diversity of religious and political voices in that country. It could even become a great democratic role model for the rest of the Middle East. If only outside forces/interests would not interfere.
Global Voices Online, Guardian

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Amy Goodman's Book Tour Coming to a City near YOU!

San Antonions! You lucky dogs you..this Friday October 20th, 7:30pm, Amy Goodman and her brother David Goodman will hold a reading and platica at the
*Esperanza Peace & Justice Center*
922 San Pedro (@ W Evergreen)
San Antonio, Texas 78212 . Admission will be free!

Before this event, there will be at a 'meet and greet reception' that will cost $50 for the first 100, and call to purchase tickets 210-228-0201 .

The Book is called : STATIC, Government liars, media cheerleaders and the people who fight back.

President George W. Bush has long preferred illusion to reality. "See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda," Bush explained of his approach at a public forum in 2005. For Bush, the only crises are when poll numbers fall.

Bush administration officials are obsessed with controlling the flow of information. Their strategy for maintaining their grip on power is simple: Perpetuate fear. We must remain in a state of total war. The implications for democracy are chilling. President Bush has asserted a right to unlimited wartime powers. Thus the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Geneva Conventions, and the very notion of a balance of power have been shredded. The official rhetoric is that we are now in a Long War, led by the president, über alles.

The media, so cowed for so long, has failed to present a coherent picture of this frontal assault on our democracy. Alarming stories emerge, piecemeal, of warrantless wiretaps, of U.S. sanctioned torture, of offshore prisons where thousands are being held at the whim of a president who invokes sweeping life-and-death powers and dispatches propagandists to cover his trail.

Information is a crucial weapon in Bush's war. In a February 2006 speech Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declared that "information warfare" will be vital to fighting terrorism. He lashed out at the media for "an explosion of critical press stories" that exposed secret U.S. anti-terror programs, including propaganda efforts in Iraq. He declared: "We are fighting a battle where the survival of our free way of life is at stake and the center of gravity of that struggle is not simply on the battlefield overseas; it's a test of wills, and it will be won or lost with our publics, and with the publics of other nations. We'll need to do all we can to attract supporters to our efforts and to correct the lies that are being told, which so damage our country, and which are repeated and repeated and repeated."

He responded to the images of and charges about American torture of detainees in Guantánamo Bay and Iraq by dismissing them as fabrications. "The terrorists are trained . . . to lie. They're trained to allege that they've been tortured. They're trained to put out misinformation, and they're very good at it," he declared.

In a speech a month later, Rumsfeld made clear that he believes the real problem in Iraq is simply the coverage: "Much of the reporting in the U.S. and abroad has exaggerated the situation . . . Interestingly, all of the exaggerations seem to be on one side . . . The steady stream of errors all seem to be of a nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists."

The "truth" that Rumsfeld prefers can be found in the articles that the Bush administration is planting in the "free" Iraqi media, written by American psychological warfare operatives.

IRAQI ARMY DEFEATS TERRORISM blared an October 2005 story in Iraqi newspapers that said, "The brave warriors of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are hard at work stopping al-Qaeda's attacks before they occur." Another planted article crowed, "The ISF has quickly developed into a viable fighting force capable of defending the people of Iraq against the cowards who launch their attacks on innocent people." The latter story was published in the Iraqi press around the time that the United States conceded that no Iraqi battalions were capable of fighting on their own.

The audience for this cartoonish propaganda is not just Iraqis: The Bush administration has turned psychological warfare, which by U.S. law can only be targeted at foreign audiences, on Americans. Rumsfeld dismissed the legal prohibitions against using foreign propaganda at home, declaring in February 2006: "The argument was, of course, that it was taking taxpayers' dollars . . . and propagandizing the American people. Of course, when you speak today, there's no one audience . . . Whatever it is we communicate inevitably is going to be heard by multiple audiences."

Rumsfeld is leaving nothing to chance. A Pentagon briefing for Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top US. commander in Iraq, identifies the "home audience" as one of the major targets of American propaganda. The Washington Post reported in April 2006 that U.S. psychological operations soldiers produced a video about atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein that was "seen on Fox News." The Bush administration also attempted to hype the role of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian who was killed in Iraq in June 2006. Bush officials used Zarqawi to falsely connect Saddam Hussein with the 9/11 attacks, and to bolster their dubious claim that the Iraqi insurgency was led by al Qaeda-backed foreign fighters. "Villainize Zarqawi/leverage xenophobia response," stated one US. military briefing. As part of this effort, U.S. psy-ops soldiers in 2004 leaked a supposed letter from Zarqawi to the New York Times that boasted of foreigners' role in suicide attacks in Iraq. Other reporters questioned the authenticity of the document that wound up in a widely cited front-page Times story. Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the U.S. military's chief spokesman in Iraq in 2004, boasted later, "The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the most successful information campaign to date."

The "information war" Rumsfeld describes is deadly serious. ABC News reported in May 2006 that the government was tracking the phone numbers dialed from major news organizations in an attempt to root out whistle-blowers. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales added that it "is a possibility" that journalists will be prosecuted for publishing classified information. The message is clear: The media can either participate in Bush's war, or become a target of it. As Bush administration officials have warned, journalists who do not follow the party line are promoting terrorism.

Declaring war on the media is a desperate and risky move. But the corporate media, so compromised and atrophied by its own complicity in promoting the lies of the Bush administration, is woefully unprepared to do battle. If the past is any guide, as the government aims a sword at the heart of our civil liberties and freedoms, the media will provide sporadic resistance at best, and at worst, will help drive the sword home.

Covering for Power

When the Bush administration launched its PR blitz to sell the Iraq War in September 2002, the American public never stood a chance of learning the truth behind the massive fraud emanating from the White House. Bush and his propaganda czars knew something the American public had not quite grasped: The American media was little more than a megaphone for those in power. This was especially true for celebrity journalists like Judith Miller, the now-disgraced national security correspondent for the New York Times; and Bob Woodward, once a crusading muckraker at the Washington Post, now father confessor to the political elite.
Read more HERE
For tour dates, click HERE.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Monday evening's interview with Robert Whitaker: Mad in America, Bad Science Bad Medicine

Tomorrow night I will be watching like the faithful apprentice, as Pedro interviews Robert Whitaker:
'Bringing Light Into Darkness: Monday KOOP News & Analysis'
hosted by Pedro Gatos in Austin, TX.
Don't Believe Everything You Think!

Please Join us Monday, October 16th , 2006

from 6:00 - 7:00pm CST at KOOP 91.7 FM, Austin TX

Special Topic:

Under the Influence of Business: When Science & Medicine
get Compromised so can the Mental Health Industry

Special Guest Robert Whitaker

Streaming Live by going to our website or to

Monday's show features Robert Whitaker author of Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill and who has has won numerous awards as a journalist covering medicine and science. In the past few years, he has won the George Polk Award for Medical Writing and a National Association for Science Writers’ Award for best magazine article (which appeared in Fortune). In 1998, he co-wrote a series on psychiatric research for the Boston Globe which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

Please join us to hear a fascinating account of the history of mental illness and the intervention strategies promoted by the drug industry and society. Despite the fact that psychiatry has introduced 'wonder drugs' like Prozac and Zoloft and Zyprexa, why is the incidence of severely debilitating forms of mental illness going up dramatically? This type of provocative question among others, will be addressed as we seek Bring fact-based Light Into the Darkness surrounding the war on "Mental Illness" since the turn of the 1900s.

Don't Be Late!!!!
In pursuit of social justice!

respectfully, pedro gatos

Iran "October Surprise"?

Thank you Granny at Is America Burning for posting this. I am going to post it in full as when I link, you might be tempted to not check it out, I would really like you too:
Dear ann,

While North Korea is dominating the headlines, the threat of an "October Surprise" U.S. attack on Iran has not diminished.

Pentagon planners have moved from routine "contingency" war plans to "second-stage" war plans. And the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier U.S.S. Eisenhower and its accompanying strike force of cruiser, destroyer and attack submarine are sailing towards Iran.

How would Iran respond to an attack? Iran has three times the population of Iraq, and a modern military capable of firing missiles at our oil-producing allies and shutting down all shipping in the Straits of Hormuz, through which 20% of the world's oil travels every day. The 140,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq would be attacked by Iran's Iraqi allies, and Hezbollah would attack Israel.

So why would Bush want war with Iran? For one obvious reason: to prevent Democrats from sweeping the November elections, as all polls now predict.

How could Bush attack Iran with all of our soldiers tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan? By relying entirely on bombs and missiles delivered by planes and ships. After all, Bush threatened to bomb our ally Pakistan back to the "stone age" if Gen. Musharraf refused to help us after 9/11. If conventional bombs won't cause enough destruction, Bush's neocon supporters are urging Bush to use nuclear weapons.

How would Bush start a war? By provoking an Iranian attack on U.S. forces - most likely by sending a U.S. warship near Iranian waters, or flying a U.S. warplane near Iranian airspace. After all, Bush planned to send a U.S. spyplane over Saddam Hussein's Iraq painted in U.N. colors to provoke an Iraqi attack that would get Bush the U.N. resolution he desperately wanted.

Bush fooled America once already with his invasion of Iraq. How can we stop him from invading Iran?

1. Tell your Representative to support Rep. Peter DeFazio's resolution requiring a Congressional vote prior to military action against Iran. Join 60,000 people who have signed our petition:

3. Forward our message to your friends.

4. Call talk shows and write letters to your newspaper - and don't hesitate to express your fear and anger.

5. Challenge your Congressional candidates to declare their opposition to a U.S. attack on Iran.

6. Register to vote immediately and vote on November 7.

7. Read Scott Ritter's new book, Target Iran.

8. Follow important Iran War news at

9. Be prepared to march peacefully if the White House starts signaling an imminent attack on Iran

Now whether you vote Democrat or Independent (the latter which I am), I think it's key to also identify Republican 'backbenchers' who do NOT support Bush and his ilk and who do NOT want to associate with them. And I thought I would only have some 'good news' to give you today! (see post below)

Grameen Foundation: "Give me your poor..."

Get this BOOK

I would like to lead you to the 2006 Nobel Peace price winner, Mohammad Yunus:
Dr. Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his pioneering work in the use of microcredit. Dr. Yunus is an economist who founded Grameen Bank in 1976 (formally in 1983) to give small loans to mostly poor women in rural Bangladesh to start small businesses. These women, who were otherwise deemed "unbankable" by conventional banks, proved to be a lower credit risk than most "creditworthy" borrowers. Grameen Bank’s loan repayment rate is over 98% - significantly higher than most commercial banks in the Third World. Dr. Yunus discovered that microcredit can be both commercially viable and an engine for socio-economic change. Grameen Bank has helped millions of Bangladeshis rise above poverty, not through charity, but through hard work and a little faith in their abilities
Read the rest of the story at DrStrangelove.
Also, to check out more information regarding microcredit, go to the Grameen Foundation.
Here are some of the places where they work.
And as the Nobel Peace price tells us, 'it' works! Congratulations Dr. Yunus!
Also, please check out Drishtipat, for a day at Grameen.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Meanwhile, back in Gaza..

It is back to the daily grind of surviving meeger existences and dodging missiles:

The Israeli military confirmed the earlier airstrike and the launch of a ground operation targeting “tunnels and other terror infrastructure” in the Khan Younis area, saying its troops were periodically coming under fire.

Since June 28, Israel has waged a prolonged offensive in Gaza with the stated goals of retrieving a soldier captured by Palestinians and stopping rocket attacks on its territory. A UN special envoy for human rights,
John Dugard, has accused Israel of unleashing “collective punishment” in the territory, declaring last month that some 260 Palestinians had been killed and 800 injured in the operation.

Check out Kel's post. Heathlander goes a bit further:
U.S, Israel and Abbas shamefully subvert Palestinian democracy for their own ends.

This is from Haaretz:
At least 20 Palestinians have been killed by the IDF since Thursday, when it stepped up its Gaza offensive. The military says the operation is aimed at halting Qassam rocket fire at southern Israel. On Friday, three Israelis were lightly wounded when Qassams fell in the Sderot area.

Seven gunmen were killed and 15 others wounded on Saturday morning in an IAF strike east of Gaza City, close to the Gaza-Israel border, security officials said. All of the dead were later identified as members of Hamas.

Palestinian sources said that most of those wounded in the strike were also militants. Two of the wounded were in serious condition, and a woman was also among those hurt. Witnesses said ambulances driving to the scene came under fire.

I have a question (or two) for you; who do you think has something to gain from keeping the status quo and not engaging in any peaceful actions? What do you believe are some of the ulterior motives some/any party-ies have/has?

The Greatest Story Ever Sold, Frank Rich

Sometimes I'm able to get the kids interested in something else instead of watching their favourite post-school tv shows and watch one of MY favourite shows; Oprah. This past week, she featured Frank Rich, the New York Times op-ed writer with his latest book 'The Greatest Story Ever Sold'. This was huge. Not just the fact that Frank Rich wrote this book, but because he got the exposure of a world wide Oprah audience, and many American mostly female voters at that who probably do not always have time to watch the evening political programs on which he also appeared. (I certainly don't have time to, 99% of the time)
I will let you do some 'link surfing/browsing' so you can satisfy your curiosity 'tailor made'. The title of the Oprah episode he appeared in was 'Truth in America'. One of the big issues dealt with was the climate of fear domestically. Not being able, allowed to ASK QUESTIONS. To be against torture would be considered being for the terrorists. Simplistic bully talk like that. Something Keith Olbermann recently addressed when he spoke of Bush's intolerance of anyone disagreeing with him or the administration.
Just before the Iraqi war, Oprah had a show called "Is War the Only Option?" As she mentioned to Frank Rich, after that show, she received the most hateful letters EVER. One of them being 'Take your hairy black ass back to Africa' and another one basically telling her that she should die for thinking and saying such treasonous things. Idiotic isn't it?
Here is the link to Frank Rich's interview on Oprah.
Here is Frank Rich's interview on Stephen Colbert (note non American visitors, this is political satire, which airs after the Daily Show)

If you are HERE (as in, the blogosphere) you probably do not need this to figure out 'critical literacy', as you have already sought out alternative news and communication/discussion sources. Still, in the event you're interested in broadening your mind, check this out.
And here is Keith Olbermann's 'Special Comment'. Speaking for the sane of us all:

Go to part 2 HERE.
For the transcript of this video, go HERE.
And to Bush and his ilk I say; “Seek peace, and pursue it. (Proverbs 34:14)”

Withinsight: One more post on Military Commissions Act (I'll stop soon)

Withinsight: One more post on Military Commissions Act (I'll stop soon)

Sign right here... a different pledge for a different America. so to speak. Check it out.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Jon Stewart's North Korean Summer Home

I need some comedy with all this craziness..don't you?? (note to my non American regulars, this is great American political comedy/satire..enjoy!)

More of the Daily Show where this came from: YOUTUBE! (congratulations on the sale boys)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

HCBlog-HillCountryGal: GOP: STOP making GOPredatorgate a GAY issue#links#links

HCBlog-HillCountryGal: GOP: STOP making GOPredatorgate a GAY issue#links#links
Well well well, what did I find?? Some 'record' here.. check out the GOP's attraction of 'bird's of a feather, stick together' kind.. no wonder they protest just a little too loud!



Check out to see when and before when you have to register to vote or to check to make sure that your registration is not lost, or perhaps never was and you matter. Go and check out this link!

Sal Costello Interviewed; Toll Roads and Trans Texas Corridor

Today's the day on my posting re. the toll roads and Trans Texas Corridor. If you think it only matters to those in TX, think again. Please view this video and see the post following this one.

This is Texas passion

...and activism: David Van Os
Part 1

Part 2

Truth Be Tolled, First Texas, than the rest of America

"This Government (when speaking of Perry's administration) reminds me of the "Pa" Ferguson administration" , Pat Choate, speaking after the showing of the disturbing, sobering and cinematically beautiful documentary "Truth Be Tolled". Ya'll in Texas who have lived here for many years or who grew up here will automatically understand the referral. For those who don't, you can only imagine what that is referring to knowing the current corrupt Perry administration. Pat Choate referred to a group of Republicans as a "rump group" which in essence has come away from the Republican Party (of Texas) and run amoc with corruption and a sell out to the highway lobby for their own gain. Of course, as I am listening to his latter comment, I can't help but think hmmm..which 'other' government does that remind me off? I'll give you one hint; it's still a domestic one and it's put us in debt for many generations to come. No, no more hints! In the meantime, these are the position of both the Democrat and the Republican Party of Texas re. toll roads and the Trans-Texas Corridor:

"a ban on toll road construction which makes the public pay for roads twice"

"Trans Texas Corridor: Because there are issues of confiscation of private lands, State and National Sovereignty and other similar concerns, we urge the repeal of the Trans-Texas Corridor Legislation" page 10
"Tolls on existing roads":We oppose tolls charged for traversing previously toll free roadways except for maintenance on existing toll roads already paid for." page 24 To be found HERE

Last night, I was not only stirred into experiencing the utmost disgust and dismay at the level of corruption discussed in the documentary, and the level of TXDOT's disingenuous sherade of public hearings that merely served to be a "dog and pony show" for the sake of official records, but I was stirred into feeling impressed, heartened and touched by the genuine passion and love and care of all the individual activists, and local (elected) officials (mayors and aldermen) who stood up and said no, this is not in our interest and we KNOW that you know that WE KNOW, we're not going to take it. Ordinary citizens like you and me, who woke up and smelled the coffee. People who I liken to be the gatekeepers, when you and I were asleep at the wheel for whatever reason. The people who spoke in the documentary, the activists and the citizens at the hearings alike, spoke with clarity, eloquence and showed a knowledge that said, you can't pull the wool over our eyes. If there is ever a grassroots movement that can undo Perry's administration of his toll road and Trans Texas Corridor deals, it is this one. All over Texas, TXDOT is readying existing roads for the toll booths and lights for the lights that direct you into open or closed lanes. The ONLY way this movement can overthrow the wheelers and dealers, is by everyone stepping up to the plate and waking up. Unlike the official rhetoric that says "it's a done deal", this is still a democracy where the next elected official can undo any deal with the help of the people!

As it is important to understand another issue: this Trans Texas Corridor and the manner by which it was secretly planned and pursued, should give you an inkling as to how it is going to continue up North, one state at a time. This is not solely a Texas issue, but a national one. One that of course also has the blessing of our national (federal) government. That should also give you an inkling; the Trans-Texas Corridor will be the biggest eminent domain grab in the history of this country. And it will continue as they are planning to built if from here (TX) up to Canada.

Any organization can request a FREE copy of Bill Molina's excellent documentary 'Truth Be Tolled', please click on the link to do so and help spread the word. Rural Texas is mad, but the millions of voters who need to push Perry of the edge live in the cities. This is your turn to step up to the plate and put your money where you mouth is. I strongly encourage you too.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Texas Governor's Debate October 6th/2006

Lovelies, in my other blogging life, I am a volunteer for Independent Texans and for a few months I promised/offered to help out with their blog. Someone moved it from Blogger to Wordpress and I am (still) not too Wordpress savvy, (hate the template they picked oh well) but we're getting closer and closer to our Governor's election time. Pls check out the link and roam around the site. If you want to leave a comment by the way, I haven't figured it out how to allow that. I thought I changed the setting to not moderate, but I'll have to call the techie volunteer to walk me through that one. This election is important as Perry has been making deals for the Trans Texas Corridor (Nafta highway anyone? Cheaper goods coming in from China bypassing Mexico leaving the latter just a wee bit more poor), and Strayhorn has been fighting it, not just in name denouncing it, but showing up on meetings and gatherings all over Texas. Also, big issue (for me) is the imposed toll roads by Campo. We're not talking toll roads on new roads that were built to alleviate congestion, but existing in city roads that have no viable alternatives, actively taxing people (people who can't afford it) twice. Check it out.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

World Can't Wait-Drive Out The Bush Regime

I wanted to create a link to Kel's site, the Osterly Times to one of his posts, but for some reason it just did not work. Hopefully it wasn't a 'mis'feature of the new Beta Blogger thing but Kel was so kind to send me the link anyway. Here is what he posted:
The following is a statement by actor Sean Penn given on October 2, 2006, at the Great Hall of Cooper Union, New York City. It was read by Mark Ruffalo (Penn's co-star in "All the King's Men") at an emergency meeting of "World Can't Wait - Drive Out the Bush Regime" held in response to passage of the Torture Bill and in preparation for protests happening on Thursday, October 5, in over 190 cities nationwide.

We the people of the United States have a unique opportunity. We can show each other and the world that what the Bush administration claims is their mission is not ours. And, by leading our country as a citizenry and demanding of our government an immediate end to our own military and profit investments in Iraq, display for the entire world that democracy is a government of the people. What more powerful message to send the world than that we ourselves can choose - in policy, in peace, and in humanitarian support.

In fascism, one serves the State. Let's show the world that with democracy, we can make the State do our bidding, and that such bids would not be the blind ones, given exclusively to the friends of power. But rather, the domain of the people of freedom everywhere. This is an administration that advocates torture, deceives the public, spends billions of dollars on a failed war. This is an administration where in the year of Katrina, Exxon Mobil claimed the highest profit margin in the history of world business. It is an administration that belittles, demeans, deceives, and indeed kills our brothers, our sisters, our sons, and our daughters.

It is happening today and I did not even realize this as of course, where would you read it? Oh but of course, a British blog!! Anyhow, follow the link for Sean Penn's full statement. Among some of the ditzes and self centered ones, there are some actors/actresses who are eloquent and thoughtful and first and foremost, concerned and non apathetic citizens.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Vampire or Pinocchio syndrome?

I will keep it short. The latest news from Mark Foley's lawyer seems to be that he was abused as a teen, and that he's entered rehab for alcoholism. My first thought was that it was an excuse to deal with the situation which seems to be a common reaction from sex offenders. It's part of the 'Pinochio' syndrome. Now Mark Foley has denied having done anything improper with a minor and whether that's true or not, I am not going to go into that. I wanted to use this story for drawing your attention to this article: Sexual victimization and sexual delinquency: Vampire or Pinocchio syndrome? Excerpt:
Were you molested when you were a child? This is the unavoidable question faced by all offenders who are accused or convicted of a sex crime. A retrospective analysis of sexual victimization among offenders showed that from 30% to 60% of them with pedophiles predominant said yes. But what is the true story?

Sexual offending is often explained as being the consequence of previous sexual victimization. This perception of “cause and effect” is supported by various writers who believe that the presence of unresolved sexual trauma (deviant sexual experience in early childhood) plays an important role in the development and persistence of deviant sexual behaviour. Some even emphasize that sex crimes are often a reproduction of previously experienced sexual abuse. They call this the “vampire” syndrome. Other researchers question the assumption of a cycle of abuse that is, the theory of the abused abuser. Some even doubt the accuracy of the reported rate of sexual victimization among sex offenders, and talk about “pseudo-victimization” or “overvictimization”. It would appear that some sex offenders falsely claim that they were victimized as a way of explaining or excusing their own sex crimes. We do not know how widespread this practice is, but an American study of sex offenders showed that after they were told that they would be subject to a polygraph test, the percentage of those claiming sexual victimization dropped from 67% to 29%.
The authors Michel St-Yves and Bruno Pellerin go into the various studies and conclude with the following:
The results of these studies therefore lead us to question the importance that is placed on the role of sexual victimization in the development of sex-related criminality. Moreover, as previously mentioned, these studies are usually based only on self-reporting. It is therefore possible that some subjects invent sexual victimization scenarios (Pinocchio syndrome) or that they magnify or transform traumatic events in their lives to excuse or justify their crimes. Regardless of whether the sexual abuse did or did not occur, sexual victimization is not the only factor that may have a negative influence on a person’s emotional, social and sexual development. The vampire syndrome does not explain the high percentage (about 50%) of individuals who reported that they had not been molested in childhood but who still committed sex crimes. Conversely, many people were molested in childhood or adolescence but never became molesters themselves. It is clear that several other factors may influence the display of deviant sexual behaviour hence the need for carrying out further comparative studies.

Sex offenders who are out to molest children are for the most part people that you know. People who are married with children of their own. A trusted person even.
Check out How To Protect Your Children. Just remember, the bad guy doesn't wear black.

Putting my money where my mouth is..

well, in a matter of speaking. This morning, I got called by Chris from the (newly) local Austin office of to ask me if I was willing to participate in taking back Congress. So, I decided, inspite of my limited time, that I would. I will start on Saturday. I have also been helping out Independent Texans (of which I am a member) with their blog and will try to do more on-hands activities like covering certain events and then post about it. It's really not that much, but I feel that, with a little more time to myself (daughter dearest is in school every morning till noon), that I can start pursuing my passion. A passion I love and hate, and from which I need to take distance from because it just 'gets to me'. Politics. These are very important times politically, and if I can do a little bit to nudge things in a more save, and reasonable direction, I'll be happy.
If you're in Austin, check out the events coming up here this weekend on the indy texan blog.

Monday, October 02, 2006

UN's Oil For Food Programme, What's more Corrupt the Programme or our Perception of it?

Check in again with my mentor, Pedro Gatos from KOOP radio, 91.7FM tonight at 6-7 Central time. Here is what he is going to be talking about tonight, and perhaps even interview someone (that I don't know yet):
Celebrating our KOOP Fall Membership Drive

Special Topic:

UN's Oil For Food Programme

What's more Corrupt the Programme or our Perception of it?Streaming Live by going to our website or to

Please join us for Monday's show that shall have as a special focus the UN's Oil For Food Program. We will examine just how "corrupt" the 'programme' was and why and how our perceptions of the degree of its corruption may be so disproportionate to reality.

You may go or to access the radio link at KOOP 91.7 FM online.

Don't Be Late!!!!
I hope this email finds you in good health and is not too invasive.

The Radio station that hosts our radio show and which I am a member is having its KOOP Membership Drive. As you know, our show is each Monday from 6-7pm CST and is called "Bringing Light Into Darkness, Monday News & Analysis".
We have two shows during the membership drive. Monday October 2nd and Monday October 9th.

I am trying to promote friends and listeners to call 512- 472-5667 (1-888-917-5667- toll free) during our show's time to become members by making tax deductible donations. The advantage for our show is that when you call and identify yourself as a fan of Pedro Gatos' show it improves the value of our show for the station as well as supports KOOP Community Radio. By improving the value of the station and the show it allows greater access to the community of our program content which we believe is a unique critical thinking tool and important contributor to understanding and disassemblying ideological systems that promote unfairness and injustice.

Below is the KOOP promotion,

"KOOP Radio is kicking off its Fall Membership Drive Saturday, September 30th. Your support ensures that KOOP will continue to bring Austin high-quality, innovative and diverse community-oriented programming."

If you are up to it please pass the word and call between 6-7pm CST this Monday or the next Monday October 2nd or 9th. The most important contribution I can ask for is to attract listeners to the show and expand our dialogues out to more and more people. If you feel comfortable doing that please invite folks to request being added to our regular email list of upcoming shows.

In pursuit of social justice!

as always my best and my continued repect for your honest concern for social justice!